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Workers Comp Attorney Barney Fox Answers Injury Questions on 'Moore Law'

There were a variety of questions about the complications of being hurt on the job from Moore Lawviewers as host and local TV journalist Deb Haas and attorney co-host Don Moore were joined by Cincinnati workers compensation and Social Security disability attorney Bernard C. Fox. After Don explained that injuries at work could often be complicated because it is “not always just workers compensation,” Barney said his first piece of advice is to be sure to report the injury.

“Most people will feel badly about their relation with their boss, their job, and they sometimes tend not to tell people what’s going on with them,” Barney said. “It doesn’t do a justice to them and it certainly doesn’t to the employer because the employer needs to know these things.”

Jerry in Sharonville had his bicep muscles torn off the bone at work and will require extensive rehabilitation that has not even started yet. His doctor told him he might not regain full use of arm and asked what he would be able to do since his job required use of both hands. “If you cannot return to your former position of employment, you’re entitled to get your wages paid up until that time that you can return to work, or you go into living maintenance or living maintenance wage laws,” Barney said. “They can put you in a program, try to retrain you for a different job, there’s a lot of different opportunities there if you cannot return to your former position of employment.”

“One thing that I think is really important to know is that you’ve had an injury like that, you are never the same again,” Don added, saying that while the arm may be functional, it will still cause more problems. “If you have a muscle that’s torn away from the bone, it’s never going to be the same again.”

Much like Don’s son and the guest for the inaugural show, Daniel Moore, is a fourth-generation attorney, Don noted that Barney has a family history with the law as well. “Well, my grandfather was, I think he was the first municipal judge here in Cincinnati,” Barney said, adding that his father was a lawyer in Cincinnati for more than 50 years. “He’s retired now and I have a daughter who’s graduating from law school, so we’ve been around.”

The attorneys also took a call from an electrician, John in Middletown, who was experiencing broke both his ankles, had chips taken out of his heels and sustained other injuries to his feet after being knocked off a 12-foot ladder. He said he had been on workers compensation for three months before returning to work for month only to find he was still having “a lot of problems.”

Barney immediately asked if there was any sort of protection for John while he was on a ladder and noted that protection is required when employees are working at certain heights. “If you’re on a ladder, it could be a violation of specific safety requirement,” Barney said. “You have to do these things, otherwise you may be entitled to a penalty because of this situation.”

Don then noted that the case could also involve a Violation of Specific Safety Requirements (VSSR) claim, which Barney explained could provide an additional award ranging from 15 percent to 50 percent. “It can add up, especially with a serious injury like this man has,” Barney said.

Vernon in Amelia called about an injury he suffered on the job after being thrown out of a truck when the tractor trailer pulled out unexpectedly as he was unloading it. Vernon suffered tears in his rotator cuff, bicep and ACL among other injuries and said he had been taken care of until the insurance companies changed in January. Vernon said he was supposed to have surgery but has been going back and forth with the insurance company and was still waiting, now unable to lift his arm.

“They have professionals that work on their side, either the company or the bureau of workers compensation,” Don said, citing his experience as a former claims adjuster. “An individual is not a professional that can’t handle their own claim if it gets complicated or tricky. Veron’s in a lot of pain, he needs help.”

Vernon was the final caller of the show and reinforced the importance of speaking a lawyer regarding any sort of injury at work. “Some things you just shouldn’t do by yourself,” Don said.

“That’s absolutely correct,” Bernie replied. Earlier in the show, the attorneys had discussed the same issue and Bernie noted that a victim is going to need help with the issues like the “rehabilitation process with the doctors, what the doctors need to do to get you better and to get you back to a job and back to a livelihood.”

The next episode of Moore Law is Monday, April 1, 2012, at 9:30 a.m. on WXIX-TV, FOX19. Leslie Kish, the Vice President of Operations at the Cincinnati Better Business Bureau (BBB), will join Deb and Don to discuss scams and rip-offs.

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